SUNDAY, 4 JUNE 2017
SUBJECT/S: London terror attacks; level crossings.
DANIEL ANDREWS, PREMIER OF VICTORIA: Thanks very much for being here this morning at what is a simple but moving ceremony to mark those who have lost their lives at our dangerous and congested level crossings, right across the state.
At the 50 crossings we are removing, over the last 10 years sadly, tragically 20 lives have been lost. There have been 60 serious crashes and more than 10 times that number in near misses.
We’ve always known that these relics of the past had to go and these terrible statistics, all of which are stories of personal tragedy, well they put the human side to this massive infrastructure program. It really is about saving lives, saving time, allowing us to run more trains more often and of course, we're creating thousands of jobs along the way.
I am humbled to be here today with Dianna Dejanovic whose son Christian tragically passed away, at this site back in 2012. It's important to acknowledge that he was posthumously awarded a bravery medal, just this year by the Governor General in recognition of his courage and I want to today recognise his mum’s courage because she has led the campaign to make sure that something that had been talked about for decades finally got done.
I on behalf of all local residents and all Victorians want to thank her for her courage and bravery. Without her I don't think we ever would have gotten to the point where we finally acted. The other point here as well, Bill Shorten is with us and it’s great to see Bill out in his local community. This was a partnership project and we are very keen to acknowledge that and it's great to have Bill here with us as well.
On every measure, on every level, removing these level crossings is really important and that is why we are getting on and delivering these important infrastructure projects ahead of time.
Just finally before I go to London, the commitment at the election two and a half years ago was to have 20 of these crossings removed by the end of 2018. We will better that, we are aiming towards 25, 26 perhaps as many as 27 of these level crossings gone and 37 either gone or under way. Kevin Devlin is here today from the Level Crossing Removal Authority and I want to thank him and by extension all of his staff, hundreds and thousands of Victorian workers delivering what so many have talked about for so long. It's getting done under this government and that is a source of great pride for that team, my team and I think all fair minded Victorians.
Just on the terrible events in London. On the way here this morning I've spoken with the Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and he's provided me in relation to the best intelligence, the best information that they have got. Obviously, things are evolving rapidly and I will leave it to Victorian Police and others to keep you briefed in a more timely way.
What was first thought to be simultaneous attacks it would now seem that it was one event on the bridge that has then gone into the market. These are terrible events and they remind us that we can always, we can be certain that we need to remain vigilant.
We are reminded in the most tragic of circumstances it would seem the things that we hold dear - our freedoms, our liberty, the values that we are so well defined by are under attack and are under threat by many.
Our thoughts and our prayers and our best wishes go to everybody involved. Firstly those who have perhaps lost loved ones, those who will be dealing with the great tragedy of this event as well as other events. Coming so quickly off the back of Manchester this will be of great concern to many directly affected, but the British people in a broader sense, our solidarity is with them, our prayers, our thoughts, our best wishes. The Chief Commissioner has confirmed for me, there is no reason to believe that there is a need to change our threat level, no reason to believe there’s any connection between these events and anybody in our state but I’ll allow the Victorian police and others to keep you updated beyond that. I now might throw over to Bill to make some comments of his own.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks very much Premier and before I talk about London I just simply want to congratulate Daniel Andrews and the state government. This level crossing has been sadly, a killer and now because of the work of the Andrews Labor Government and local members of course, Natalie Suleyman and others we are now going to see this crossing made safe. It's great for the local community. I also just want to acknowledge that this can't be an easy day for Dianna, she has been relentless in campaigning ever since the tragedy of the passing of her son Christian, but certainly, she deserves a fair bit of credit for making sure that St Albans finally got the level crossing, albeit too late for her own tragedy.
On London, I just want to say on behalf of the Federal Opposition how shocked and appalled we are at yet again, another terror attack in England and another terror attack in London. I had the opportunity to speak briefly to one of my colleagues, Senator Dastyari who was a very close distance to where some of this tragedy unfolded. He was nothing short of complete praise for the role of the British police force and that really reminds me therefore of what this all means for Australia.
What it means is that when it comes to fighting terrorism we are united in this together. The more that these things happen, the more that it makes me realise that Australians need to stick together. We need to continue to operate with confidence and vigilance. We are united in our resolve to oppose terrorism. It's in moments like this that we throw politics out the window and we are united by a determination to keep Australians safe, united by our determination not to let terror run our lives. Happy to take any questions along with Daniel.
JOURNALIST: Bill Shorten, have you seen the Pauline Hanson response where she's basically used the alert used by Metro UK police and turned it into an anti-immigration response. Have you seen it?
SHORTEN: I've heard reports about it. It's disgusting and inappropriate. We don't even know fully what's happened and now what we've got is people using this for the crassest of political messages within hours of this event happening. I would just say to those people of the extremes of Australian politics, hold your horses. An event like this should make us realise that Australians need to stick together.
The only way that we ever stop these things happening is by us being united in our determination to stick together. The exact win for a terrorist and violent criminals is when they start to see communities fray and become suspicious of each other. I'd just say to Pauline and everyone else, hold your horses, you're in politics, whatever point you want to make, you make it at another opportunity but today, it's crass, idiotic and disgusting.
JOURNALIST: Have you heard of any, or been briefed on any particular, or of the overall threat or otherwise to Australia? The Premier talked about what's happening in Victoria but are you aware of anything nationally.
SHORTEN: I think in fairness to the government they are just getting this news overnight. Let me just state about the Australian security forces, I don't think anyone can give a 100 per cent guarantee that the evil we see elsewhere could never happen here.
But I want to reassure Australians, as someone who is privileged to see the briefings and the information of our security forces and our military. Our people are at least as good as anyone else in the world.
No doubt there will be lessons, just as we are constantly upgrading the response and the reactive nature of our security forces. I just want to say to Australians, we should continue to operate with confidence and vigilance. It's times like this when we throw politics out the window.
We are united in our determination to stop terror happening in this country and I know that our security agencies and all sides of politics are doing their level best.